Commentary: Biden Mocks Ancient Wisdom

Human nature stays the same across time and space. That is why there used to be predictable political, economic, and social behavior that all countries understood.

The supply of money governs inflation. Print it without either greater productivity or more goods and services, and the currency cheapens. Yet America apparently rejects that primordial truism.

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Commentary: ESG Investing Is Politics by Other Means

Before Joe Biden’s election, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing was sweeping all before it. Wall Street was coming to the planet’s rescue and saving capitalism at the same time. It was a self-serving myth. As I show in my new report Capitalism, Socialism and ESG published today, doing well by doing good is no more than Wall Street sales patter. But since the election, financial regulators have been falling over themselves playing catchup.

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Commentary: Big Tech Censorship Is Here to Stay

Big Tech has betrayed the American people yet again – despite hopes that Facebook would finally reverse it’s ban on Donald Trump’s account, the social media giant has re-committed to a path of dangerous partisan censorship.

On Wednesday, an oversight board established by Facebook ruled that it would not be overturning the platform’s January decision to suspend Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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Commentary: H.R. 1 Would Eliminate Key Signature Verification Safeguard

Democrats have already passed H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, in the House of Representatives; fortunately, the bill faces a much tougher road in the Senate. Among the bill’s many serious problems are a wide array that I would characterize as “mechanical,” in the sense that they dictate the nuts and bolts of how states would run elections. H.R. 1 attempts to dictate these elements in a way that is either impossible to put into effect or would gut the effective administration of elections. One example is how H.R. 1 dictates, through its Section 1621, that states must deal with signature verification – a cornerstone of election security, especially with the growth of mail-in balloting.

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Commentary: The Strange Death of the British Labour Party

Labour Party

I must visit Twitter periodically to renew my sense of horror. For lurid anthropological enjoyment, Twitter offers a safari to those inclined. Twitter is most satisfying when reality intrudes upon those dedicated to unreality, the “my-truthers.” 

Last week’s elections in Great Britain were such an occasion. “Fascists live among us!” cried the Woke, who call for the professional death and canceling of anyone who disagrees with them. 

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Commentary: Biden Must Reverse Course on Iran Before It’s Too Late

President Joe Biden walks along the Colonnade with the Combatant Commander nominees U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson on Monday, March 8, 2021, along the Colonnade of the White House.

Media outlets around the world recently reported on leaked audio comments in which Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif admitted that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps controls all of Iran’s foreign policy decisions.  Although President Joe Biden was careful to mention neither Zarif nor Iran in his speech before Congress last month, Zarif’s embarrassingly candid revelations have direct implications for Biden’s entire Iran policy: namely, it underscores that reducing economic sanctions in order to moderate the Iranian regime cannot work.

For decades, U.S. policy toward Iran has produced disappointing results, largely because American administrations have underestimated the entrenched ideology of Iran’s theocratic dictatorship and mistakenly assumed the regime can be tamed by conciliatory diplomacy.  Western efforts to placate Tehran have failed consistently since the revolutionaries took power in 1979, yet recent reports indicate President Biden is in the process of repeating this failure. 

Just as the Obama administration did with its disastrous 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Biden administration is now seeking to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for temporary commitments from Tehran to curb its nuclear program.  A senior State Department official recently revealed that the Biden administration is reviewing all U.S. terrorism and human rights sanctions on Iran since 2017 to assess whether those sanctions were “legitimately imposed,” and that some sanctions will need to be lifted to ensure Tehran is “benefiting” from the nuclear deal.  Like Obama, Biden hopes that relaxing economic pressure can convince the regime to put aside its nuclear ambitions, focus on Iran’s economy and people, stop bankrolling terrorist proxies, and become a normal member of the international community. 

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Commentary: How ‘Woke’ May Be Leading Us to Civil War

Riot in Minnesotta; BLM

The other day, I wrote that “woke” was the new conformism.

It is, of course, but I undersold it. It’s much more than that and more dangerous.

As Tal Bachman notes at Steynonline, it’s now our state religion, a state religion in a country that—constitutionally and for good reason—isn’t supposed to have one.

But “Wokism” is yet more than that, too. It’s a mass psychosis similar to many that have arisen throughout history when the masses followed leaders who, in their zeal or self-interest, took them to disastrous ends.

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Commentary: The Government Hiding January 6 Video Footage and Why

Jan. 6 capitol riot

Joe Biden calls it the worst attack since the Civil War. Attorney General Merrick Garland compares it to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The FBI is breaking down the doors of Iraq War veterans and small business owners who have no criminal records, and some are hauled off to rot in solitary confinement in a fetid D.C. jail, for their involvement in the alleged travesty.

The event, of course, is the roughly four-hour-long disturbance at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. As mostly nonviolent Americans dared to protest Congress’ certification of a clearly fraudulent presidential election in a place that once was considered “The People’s House,” lawmakers scurried for cover as reporters and photographers captured part of the ruckus on video and still shots to wield as political ammunition against Donald Trump and his supporters.

But have we seen a full and fair depiction of exactly what happened that day? The answer, as evidenced by an ongoing coverup by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Justice Department, clearly is no.

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Commentary: Mask Mandates Promote Servitude, Not Safety

Man on escalator with mask on

The other day, for the first time since March 2020, I embarked on a journey outside of the slave state of California. My wife and I drove to Montana. While I had heard tales of the existence of freedom in other states, I had yet to experience the thing firsthand.

My experience in Montana confirmed what I have long suspected and known, but not witnessed or experienced for myself—that there are two Americas and two very different types of Americans. There are free states and slave states. There are fearful, obedient slaves, and fearless, free Americans.

I didn’t wear a mask for an entire weekend in Montana—not entering my hotel, not walking down the street, not entering a grocery store or gas station convenience store, not getting a coffee, and not entering numerous restaurants and bars. At no point did I put on that filthy face diaper. Nor did anyone else.

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Commentary: Tuning Out Wokeism

Group protesting; "no justice no peace" sign

If wokeness should continue and “win,” by now we all know where it will end up. After all, this is not a prairie-fire, peasants-with-pitchforks, spontaneous bottom-up revolution.

The woke Left seeks a top-down erasure of America, engineered by the likes of LeBron James from his $40 million estate talking revolution to Oprah at her $90 million castle, as Mark Zuckerberg throws in $500 million here, and his colleagues $400 million there, and as the top executives of Coke, Target, and Delta Airlines believe their $17 million-a-year salaries make them experts on the crimes of non-diversity, exclusion, and inequity. Anytime revolutionaries at the outset of their enterprises seek exemption from the consequences of their own ideology, we know their plans will end badly for everyone else.

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Commentary: Biden’s Capital Gains Tax Plans Are a Lose-Lose Proposition

There will always be munis. Income from municipal bonds typically enjoys tax-free status at the federal level and in the issuing state. Conversely, when investors put wealth to work in a startup, private corporation, or public company, they face a capital gains tax penalty if their investment bears fruit. If a home run, that penalty becomes enormous.

Imagine that. Investors who subsidize the growth of government largely avoid taxation. But if they back an innovative corporation, or rush a distant future into the present through an intrepid investment with a visionary entrepreneur, a major IRS bill awaits.

Worse, the cost of prescient investing may soon increase. Seemingly in a bid to placate his ravenous left flank, President Biden has announced a proposal to nearly double the federal penalties on savings and investment to 43.8%.

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Commentary: The U.S. Economy and Its Lack of Sustainability

American flag with $100 bills and stethescope

Is the economy booming or is it riding a wave of paper money with no real underlying sustainability? That is the question which policy makers in Washington, DC should be considering.

The truth is no one actually knows, but that is exactly why this discussion must be had.

Since the China virus was inflicted upon the world, it is indisputable that the federal government has authorized $5 Trillion between the Trump spending of $3.1 Trillion to meet the crisis and Biden’s recently passed additional $1.9 trillion so he could sign checks to people too. This is on top of the $1 Trillion in planned deficits during the 2020 fiscal year.

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Commentary: The U.S. Military Is Just Another Woke Institution

The backsides of American soldiers in uniform

Tucker Carlson spurred a much-needed reexamination of the military in March. His monologue criticizing the military’s political correctness drew a more furious response from top brass than any foreign threat is likely to do. The generals’ response only affirmed Tucker’s points about the degraded state of our armed forces. Why do generals—both current and retired—feel the need to condemn civilians who question the wisdom of putting women in combat?

The answer is that the military, along with the entire national security establishment, is at one with the Democrat-Media complex. The image we have of generals and senior officers as defenders of tradition is wildly out of step with reality.

This fact is underscored by its contrast with a letter issued in France last week. The letter—signed by 20 retired generals, 80 officers, and 1,000 lower-ranking soldiers—was stridently right-wing. “The hour is late, France is in peril, threatened by several mortal dangers,” the letter states. Though retired, we remain soldiers of France, and cannot, under the present circumstances, remain indifferent to the fate of our beautiful country.”

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Commentary: The Death Spiral of Academia

Library with several people at library tables, working.

On March 1, Eric Kaufmann published a remarkably detailed and comprehensive study of bias in academia, “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination, and Self-Censorship.” Kaufmann’s writing is a product of California’s Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, a small think tank set up to do research forbidden in today’s Academy. His research uncovering rampant leftist political bias in publication, employment, and promotion in the academy—and discrimination against anything right-of-center—qualifies as that kind of work.

In the academy, the free interchange of competing ideas creates knowledge through cooperation, disagreement, debate, and dissent. Kaufmann finds that the last three are severely suppressed and punished. This repression’s pervasiveness may be a death sentence for science, free inquiry, and the advancement of knowledge in our universities.

I am led to that dire conclusion because there doesn’t appear to be any way for universities to prevent it. No solution can arise from within the academy, as it self-selects lifetime faculty that are largely left-wing, making promotion of dissidents highly unlikely. Kaufmann demonstrates profoundly systemic discrimination by leftist faculty against their colleagues who disagree with them politically.

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Commentary: Cancer Screenings Plummeted in 2020 But the Results Are Grim

Patient receiving cancer screening

At Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital, Teresa Ruvalcaba was suffering on a cold January night. For months, she had tried to avoid thinking about the inflammation blooming in her chest, but the pain could no longer be ignored. So finally she had asked her 24-year-old son Sergio to drive her to the hospital.

Laying in the emergency room, the 48-year-old factory worker was a frightful sight for doctors.

“[Teresa’s] right breast [had] swollen to nearly twice the size of her left, the skin so thick and dimpled that the doctor examining her would note that it resembled an orange peel,” writes journalist Duaa Eldeib.

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Commentary: Championing America’s First Freedom

Person waving flag outside of window

The right to worship freely is often called America’s first freedom.  Our founding fathers understood religious freedom not as the state’s creation but as an unalienable right from God.

This universal right is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”

Today, however, religious freedom is threatened or restricted entirely for millions of people around the world.  Over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high or severe restrictions on religious freedom.  In far too many places across the globe, governments and others prevent individuals from living in accordance with their beliefs.

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Commentary: ‘Bipartisan Border Solutions’ Bill Lacks Solutions

No disrespect to its border-state sponsors, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and House members Henry Cuellar and Tony Gonzales (both Texans, Democrat and Republican respectively), but there are better names for the “Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.”

The “Bipartisan Band-Aid for Biden’s Border Mess” works. It’s a little long, but more descriptive than the current title.

Given the severe overcrowding at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shelters, building four new regional processing centers along America’s southern border, as the legislation calls for, may be necessary at this point.

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Commentary: One Way to Fix Plummeting Birthrates Is to Stop Bashing America

Mothers hand holding infants hand

The National Center for Health Statistics, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subagency, reported this week that America’s fertility rate dropped for the sixth consecutive year. Total births declined by 4 percent in 2020, down to 1,637.5 children per 1,000 women. The statistical replacement rate for the U.S. population, by contrast, is roughly 2,100 births per 1,000 women. Overall, the 3,605,201 births last year in the United States represented the lowest number since Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

It is perhaps too early to tell whether yet another annual incremental birthrate decline is anomalous, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or flows naturally from existing demographic trendlines. Sociologists and demographers will pore over the data, but it is difficult to ignore the broader trend and place the blame squarely—or even predominantly—on the virus and the myriad draconian lifestyle restrictions the virus engendered.

On the contrary, many had speculated before this week’s report that the extended COVID lockdowns might lead to a one-time annual increase in the birthrate as couples sheltered in place together for months on end.

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Commentary: Joe Biden, Economy Killer

President Joe Biden

Along with a working vaccine, Joe Biden inherited a V-shaped economic recovery, but he is now planting the seeds of its destruction. Inflation, federal deficits, high taxes, incentives for workers to stay home, and incentives to avoid investment – they’re all coming back. Together, these elements create the perfect brew for a Lyndon Johnson-style stagflation. If Biden and the Democrats so quickly wreck the good economic path they were given, it will be one of the worst examples of government malpractice in U.S. economic history. 

In the first, dark days of the COVID-19 national economic shutdown last spring, there was a clear need for major stimulus. Both parties united to pass an effective and much-needed response. 

The U.S. gross domestic product saw a 33.4% surge in the July-September third quarter of 2020, after plunging 31.4% in the April-June second quarter. The economy continued to grow at a 4% rate in the fourth quarter, and the stock market (despite COVID) ended 2020 with the S&P 500 index up 16% for the year as a whole. 

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Commentary: A Tribute to Mothers with Inspiration from Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou speaking

You wouldn’t think any possible controversy could append itself to that day, except that we are living in preternaturally contentious times. Two days ago, Rep. Cori Bush, a freshman Democrat from St. Louis, was testifying about racial disparities in health care, focusing specifically on childbirth. While describing her own medical experiences, Bush used the unwieldy phrase “birthing people” instead of “mothers.” Apparently, this was an awkward attempt to use inclusive language.

Predictably, this rhetorical gambit earned her a fair amount of ridicule on social media. I’m sure Rep. Bush has many virtues, but neither self-awareness nor self-deprecating humor are at the top of that list. Just as predictably, Bush lashed out at those who mocked her wording for their “racism and transphobia.” She also accused her critics of trivializing an important subject, which was a more substantive rejoinder. Bush was discussing racial disparities in America’s medical system, which is no laughing matter, and invoking her own harrowing experiences in hospital delivery rooms to do it.

Yet breezily trying to replace the word “mothers” as a sign of wokeness a few days before Mother’s Day wasn’t likely to go down well. It was Cori Bush’s own peculiar choice of words that distracted listeners from her story.

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Commentary: Asking the Wrong Question About Liz Cheney

To the delight of actual conservatives everywhere, it appears that U.S. Representaative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will soon finally be out of the GOP leadership, rectifying a huge mistake made less than three months ago by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House GOP leadership when they steadfastly supported her against a groundswell of calls from voters for her removal.

At that time, McCarthy passionately defended her presence in leadership ahead of a secret ballot vote, with many describing his contribution as decisive in turning the tide toward keeping Cheney as House GOP conference chairman. That McCarthy would be forced to reverse himself just a few months later shows that his judgment as a leader is fatally flawed.

The question conservatives should be asking now is not why we need to oust Liz Cheney but how she ever got into leadership in the first place?

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Commentary: Republican Leadership Follows in the Footsteps of Democrats

The Republican Party is riding hard into a box canyon chasing after donor rolls and privileges while its enemies take aim from the walls above at the base it drags along below.

Earlier this year, on the eve of Donald Trump’s second impeachment, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced the former president’s conduct surrounding the Capitol building riot as “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty,” adding that there was “no question . . . President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” Trump shot back, calling McConnell a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.” 

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Commentary: The Origins of the Cruel Ritual of Diversity Training

In the typical scenario, students, staff, and faculty submit themselves to the mercies of hectoring lectures and demeaning demonstrations that purport to reveal white privilege and the oppressive conditions faced by “underrepresented populations” in their institutions. Former Smith College staffer Jodi Shaw’s account of how, as part of such training, she was humiliatingly reduced to her racial identity and reprimanded for her role in the oppression of non-white co-workers is but the most recent high-profile example being discussed and debated.

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Commentary: The Left Will Not Let Go of COVID

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden

COVID’s grip on America is relaxing, not so the Left’s. The Left seized COVID as an unprecedented statist opportunity to advance their agenda. Unsurprisingly, they now resist relinquishing it. Since the Left refuse to let go of America, America must let go of the Left.

Last week the CDC relaxed its guidelines for outdoor mask-wearing by those fully vaccinated against COVID. It was more a rearguard action than a vanguard one, but at least it was a start. Several states are well ahead in their return to normalcy.

America’s virus statistics demonstrate the remission of the virus and validate accelerating relaxation of the lockdowns. On a seven-day moving average, active cases, daily new cases, and daily deaths have been plummeting since the beginning of the year.
On the ledger’s other side, vaccinations began in the U.S. in December, averaging over two million a day since February; as a result, around 31 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated at this writing.

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Commentary: Use Twitter’s New Weakness to Start Upending Big Tech

Person holding phone up with Twitter sign up page on smart phone.

Twitter’s stock fell 15 percent last week apparently because they’re not getting sufficient numbers of new users to please the market. People are not as intrigued as they used to be with an allegedly open social media platform that’s not really open, in fact is something of a dictatorship.

I know you’re not supposed to kick someone when they’re down. But when that someone has been acting in the most unAmerican, peremptory ways for years, as if the Bill of Rights never existed, censoring people without explanation—even a former president—blocking free discussion of medical science, for Heaven’s sake, and treating conservatives and libertarians pretty much the way Ferdinand and Isabella treated the Jews before they finally kicked them out of Spain, it’s time to take action.

And, when that “down” is the first chink in the armor of Big Tech that has dominated discourse in this country and around the world to a degree never thought possible, it is all the more urgent to let that foot fly and jump up and down on top a little as well if necessary.

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Commentary: No Background Checks for Federal Contractors – What Could Go Wrong?

David Trone and Maxine Waters

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. David Trone (D-MD) have introduced a bill that would block certain federal grants from going to federal contractors who conduct criminal background checks, or even “inquire” about the criminal history of an applicant. This outrageous proposal reveals the woke left’s dangerous agenda. These radicals who want to defund the police and strip them of legal protections now want to give criminals access to government sensitive information, even our national mint.

Under this measure, every defense contractor who conducts background checks could have their contracts stripped. As a side note, if there are any federal contractors who aren’t currently conducting background checks on applicants, then they should have their government contracts taken away for incompetence.

What could go wrong?  A few things come to mind. We could have defense secrets stolen, money syphoned from the U.S. mint, and Drug Enforcement Agency contractors moonlighting for drug cartels.

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Commentary: Amateurish FBI Raid on Innocent Trump Supporter’s Home Ought to Chill Every American

Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Last week the FBI raided the home of an Alaska couple who had attended former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 peaceful rally near the White House.

According to the Alaska Watchman:

Paul and Marilyn Hueper, owners of Homer Inn & Spa, woke with a start at 9 a.m. April 28 when a dozen armed FBI agents kicked down their front door in an investigation associated with Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s stolen laptop, which was taken during the Jan. 6 siege of the nation’s Capitol.

Homer resident Marilyn Heuper (left), posted this photo on Facebook to show the physical differences between her and the woman who FBI agents were looking for when they raided her home on April 28.

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Commentary: Democrats’ False Middle East Mythology

The Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

What a disaster! And it’s only just begun — if we cannot do something to stop it.

Iran is up off the floor, regaining confidence in the strength of its bargaining position, restored to it as a free gift by the Biden team. Rockets from Gaza are again falling by their scores on Israeli civilians. The northern border of Israel is on highest alert. The last remaining Jews in Yemen have left as Iran’s proxies, the Houthis, consolidate their control over large areas of the country. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is appealing to the Democrats in control to take it off the U.S. terror list even as its leadership publicly encourages the wave of violence against Jewish civilians sweeping through Jerusalem.

It was only a few months ago that we were marveling at how peace was swiftly gaining momentum, and Iran, choked by powerful and effective sanctions, was being held to account for its actions and as a consequence had ever fewer resources to support its terrorist proxies. Most amazing, many Arab states began at last to see that Israel is no threat to them or their people and that they had common cause with Israel against Iranian imperialism. As if in a dream, we saw this trend begin as rumors, then peek into the light with a few gestures, and then finally, incredibly, burst into the limelight with the Abraham Accords. One Muslim state after another stepped forward to sign a real peace treaty with Israel and immediately open doors closed ever since Israel’s founding.

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Commentary: Two Studies on Immigration and Race, with Surprising Details

Group of people holding small American flags

Two mainstream think tanks have published new studies on immigration and race in America that come to the typical, safe conclusions. But a look at the data inside shows something more interesting.

A new Cato Institute report defending immigration begins by contending that immigrants are unlikely to negatively affect states’ fiscal health. But within the study’s findings, Cato may have inadvertently provided a new reason to oppose immigration.

Using state budgets as a proxy for the quality of economic institutions from 1970-2010, the authors of the Cato study assert that “a larger share of immigrants at the state level is correlated with slower state revenue and spending growth in the short-term, measured by total per capita government revenue and expenditure growth.” In other words, the more immigrants there are in a state, the less the state tends to take in in taxes and the less it spends on services. This is hardly groundbreaking; we have always known that immigration is linked to welfare chauvinism.

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Commentary: Virginia Can’t Seem to Make up Its Mind About Its New Math Curriculum

Classroom of students with teacher at blackboard

What the heck is going on with the Virginia Department of Education?

A little over a week ago reports surfaced that the state would be doing away with advanced math classes for all grades except 11 and 12.

But then reports came out noting the state’s education chief disputed those reports, saying “absolutely acceleration is not going away in mathematics courses.”

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Commentary: Cancel Culture and Why It Only Works on Republicans

Andrew Cuomo and Ralph Northam

With cancel culture running rampant and the court of public opinion more powerful than ever, it’s no wonder many Americans are afraid to speak their minds. We’ve watched as people get taken down for reasons ranging from wrong think on Twitter, to allegations of racism, bigotry or sexual assault. The latter of which seems to be a favorite tool of the Democrats, one which they dig up seemingly every time someone “problematic” pops up in opposition to their agenda.

We saw this with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, where wildly unfounded accusations were made, leading to an extensive investigation which found nothing. The Kavanaugh hearing, one of the most divisive in history, proved Democrats are willing to play dirty to win, even at the risk of destroying an innocent man’s life and reputation.

However, conservatives and elected Republicans always seem to get caught up in legal battles when these things come up, because they take a defensive stance, accepting the left’s narrative by trying to prove their innocence.

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Commentary: The Vatican Museums and Persevering Through a Pandemic

Vatican Saint Peter's Basilica at dusk

On Monday, May 3, the Vatican Museums will reopen to the public.  The Vatican Museums were founded in 1506, when Pope Julius II discovered and acquired the sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons.  Today, the Vatican Museums house one of the oldest and most important art collections in the world.

The Vatican’s impressive collection consists of over 200,000 works spanning five millennia.  The collection includes remarkable 15th and 16th century frescoes by Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, and Raphael, as well as stunning masterpieces by Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci.  Reflecting upon her work, Vatican Museums Director Dr. Barbara Jatta said, “It’s a cultural duty undertaken with a conviction that beauty can lead to faith.” 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums were the 3rd most visited museum in the world, hosting an average of 6 million visitors per year and generating essential funding for the Vatican. 

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Commentary: Journalists Become Cynical, But Not Skeptical

Farm grown fruit for sale

Journalists and scientists have more in common than you’d think—at least they should. Scientists seek to understand and explain how the natural world works. They observe, ask questions, and approach new information with skepticism as they work through a careful process to determine what is true.

Journalists, in theory, use the same curiosity and rigor to provide the information we need to make good decisions in our lives. According to the Society of Professional Journalists, a core tenet of journalism is to “seek truth and report it.” In both worlds, negligence begins where skepticism ends, creating dangerous opportunities for peddlers of misinformation.

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual “Dirty Dozen” list is a perfect marriage of scientific and journalistic negligence. Each year, the EWG, a controversial, agenda-driven organic activist group, purports to rank the top 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. And each year, the media takes the bait without fail, and the coverage reads like sponsored content.

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Commentary: If Biden Really Wants to Be FDR, He Should Oppose Public Sector Unions

Franklin Roosevelt

President Joe Biden has made it pretty clear he idolizes Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). A painting of #32 hangs in his office, he frequently invokes the former president in his speeches, and the media often draws comparisons between the two progressives.
But as much as Biden seems to draw on FDR’s legacy, his knowledge of his positions seems to have one glaring omission. FDR was opposed to public sector unions.
Public sector unions are having a moment in the spotlight, and not in a good way. Their actions over the past year have incurred ire from all political directions. Many Americans have become aware of the role police unions play in protecting bad apples, blocking popular criminal justice reforms, and preventing transparency as extrajudicial killings and the resulting protests have demanded attention on our justice system.

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Commentary: Biden’s Shameful ‘Attack on Our Democracy’ Rhetoric

Joe Biden

Joe Biden is either an historical illiterate or a shameless liar. Perhaps he is both.

Desperate to keep the disintegrating narrative about the events of January 6 alive, Biden, in his first sparsely attended speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, declared the January 6 protest was “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

Marked safe from Washington Post fact-checkers, Biden continued to lie. “As we gather here tonight, the images of a violent mob assaulting this Capitol, desecrating our democracy, remain vivid in our minds,” he lamented. “Lives were put at risk. Lives were lost. Extraordinary courage was summoned. The insurrection was an existential crisis, a test of whether our democracy could survive. It did.”

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Commentary: A Tale of Two Speeches

Joe Biden and Tim Scott

Wednesday night was a tale of two speeches. We had President Biden droning to a nearly empty House Chamber. Then, we had Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) give the best follow-up to a presidential address to a joint session of Congress that I have ever seen. 

The difference between the two speeches was made vivid by Frank Luntz’s experience with a class of 15 University of Southern California students. In describing his discussion with the students on an Inner Circle webinar with me the next day, the students clearly favored Biden’s liberalism over Scott’s conservatism. Yet, when the speeches finished, the students were totally and deeply disappointed by the President’s speech. They were instead impressed by Scott’s sincerity, the power of his life story, and even his references to religion. While the students weren’t necessarily religious themselves, they thought a more spiritual approach to our current political mess would be helpful.

Watching the President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House all wearing masks even though they have been vaccinated was just painful. Far from following science, Biden, Harris, and Pelosi were clearly virtue signaling. To add to this, the absurdity of having 200 members present for a speech that usually has 1,600 people in attendance made for a very sad and depressing picture.

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Commentary: Will Republicans Run as American First in 2022?

Republican leaders are salivating over their prospects for retaking Congress in 2022. Populists need to be even more fired up about the primaries. Getting involved now is the only way to ensure an America-first victory. Some quality candidates are already in the fight.

There’s a reason Democrats in Congress and even Joe Biden immediately glommed onto hyperpartisan issues from the get-go. They saw the red wave in down-ballot races in 2020, and they know another tide is coming in 2022. 

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Commentary: Conserving Conservatism Is Conserving Defeat

The first thing we have to accept about the culture war is that the Republican Party and the conservative movement have lost. As it is for a battered alcoholic with bottles clinking about his heels, the first step toward recovery is admitting we have a problem. Nowhere is this more evident than in the battle of the biological sexes, lost without a shot fired. 

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: President Joe Biden’s First 100 Days

President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris

With the exception of the breakout of the Civil War at the onset of Lincoln’s presidency, the Biden administration’s first 100 days have been the most radical in American history.

The elite media would have Americans believe that President Biden is doing really well with a slight majority approval rating of 52 percent, according to a poll by ABC News and the Washington Post. But compare President Biden and his 52 percent with President Kennedy, who received 83 percent approval at this stage, or President Obama’s 69 percent approval.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Is About to Face Its Day(s) in Court

New York State Education Building, Albany, New York

As recently as last summer, few people outside academia had heard of critical race theory, whose central claim is that racism, not liberty, is the founding value and guiding vision of American society. Then, President Trump issued an executive order last September banning the teaching of this “malign ideology” to federal employees and federal contractors.

Trump’s ban was blocked by a federal judge in December and immediately revoked by Joe Biden upon occupying the White House in January. Since then, federal agencies and federal contractors have resumed staff training on unconscious bias, microaggressions, systemic racism and white privilege – some of the most common but also most disputed concepts associated with the four-decade-old academic theory.

Now critical race theory is about to face a major real-world test: a spate of lawsuits alleging that it encourages discrimination and other illegal policies targeting whites, males and Christians. But unlike Trump’s executive order, which ran into First Amendment problems by prohibiting controversial speech, the lawsuits name specific policies and practices that allegedly discriminate, harass, blame and humiliate people based on their race.

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Commentary: How the Chinese Communist Party Continues to Infiltrate U.S. Research and Higher Education

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called China the “most sophisticated” actor of foreign countries subverting our biomedical research in last week’s Senate hearing on the topic. This follows the release of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (DNI) Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community earlier this month. That assessment, cited by Sen. Burr, noted that “China will remain the top threat to US technological competitiveness as the CCP targets key technology sectors and proprietary commercial and military technology from US and allied companies and research institutions associated with defense, energy, finance, and other sectors.”

In the Senate hearing, panelists disclosed several disturbing cases of research theft by the CCP and its agents. Dr. Michael Lauer, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified that Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, fired its CEO and five other senior people for connections to the Thousand Talents Program. Gary Cantrell, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations at the Office of Investigations of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services, provided in written testimony examples of two researchers who had been compromised with China ties as found by OIG fraud investigations.

Cantrell’s first example was a professor of internal medicine who led a team conducting autoimmune research at The Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University. This professor pled guilty in late 2020 to making false statements to federal authorities to get $4.1 million in NIH grants and failing to disclose “his participation in a Chinese Talent Plan and his affiliation and collaboration with a Chinese university controlled by the Chinese government.”

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Commentary: Census Data Update and If GOP Will See Apportionment Gains

Going into this decennial reapportionment, it appeared that states’ congressional delegations were poised for widespread reshuffling of the deck.  New York was on the cusp of losing two seats, while Texas and Florida were in a position to pick up three and two, respectively. Given the legislatures that control redistricting in these states, it seemingly offered substantial opportunities for Republicans to redraw the lines in ways that boosted their chances in the House significantly.

Instead, the reapportionment numbers announced by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday were something of a wash.  Only seven states lost seats while six gained seats.

There were notable outcomes here: California lost a seat for the first time in its history. Rhode Island – widely expected to be reduced to a single-member state – held onto its two House seats (in fact it wasn’t a terribly close shave). New York, even with COVID deaths pushing it toward a loss of two seats, lost just one.

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Commentary: The Slow-Motion Suicide of the West

I have been thinking a good deal recently about Arnold Toynbee’s much-quoted observation that “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” As an historical proposition, I’d say that it was like the story of the curate’s breakfast egg. “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr. Jones!” “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you!” the curate replied. “Parts of it are excellent!”

And yet we all see the pertinence of Toynbee’s point. While there are, as a matter of historical fact, plenty of civilizations that succumb to invasion, occupation, and subjugation, there are also many that wither from within from a failure of self-confidence, of (for the Bergsonians out there) élan vital, of what your philosophy graduate student likes to call thumos: spirit, gumption, “heart,” manliness.

The fact that no one can even speak of “manliness” today without looking over his shoulder these days is an index that thumos is on the endangered species list (along, as it happens, with sperm counts in the Western world). Why this should be is a fraught question—something whose answer is “overdetermined” as our Freudian friends like to say.

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Commentary: President Biden’s Tax Hike Hits Keep on Coming

Joe Biden

Just over three months into his presidency, Joe Biden has been nothing if not active. Fresh off proposing two bills that could end up costing taxpayers $5 trillion over the next decade, the President is now proposing yet another $1.5 trillion spending package. This plan, intended to fund expanded childcare and education initiatives, would include huge tax hikes that would act as yet another sucker punch to a still-rebounding economy.

About the only tax increases the President hasn’t supported thus far arewealth taxes and financial transaction taxes. But just because the tax hikes in this package are less exotic doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prove to be harmful.

In keeping with Biden’s ongoing efforts to undo the 2017 tax reform law, the first tax increase proposed is the restoration of the top tax bracket to 39.6 percent, the level it was at before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) lowered the rate to 37 percent. The top individual rate isn’t the most influential piece of the tax code on economic growth — as the Tax Foundation estimated prior to the passage of the TCJA — but it’s also far from the only tax hike that Biden is proposing.

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